Can stamps get you in the Christmas spirit? #random

Posted By on December 8, 2019

While trying my best to get in the Christmas spirit … how about something from the philately world? Although I’m not a stamp collector, back in the day my company Consolidated Printing and Publishing did some plate work for special cancels and printing for a stamp collecting organization. Canada-85Besides, my father-in-law had an impressive stamp collection (that reminds me to check on it with my sister-in-law).

Anyway … here’s what his considered the first Christmas Stamp.

On December 7, 1898, Canada issued what many consider to be the world’s first Christmas stamp.

In 1898, Imperial Penny Postage was established in Canada, lowering the postage rate from 3¢ to 2¢.  New stamps were needed, and it became Postmaster General William Mulock’s duty to present the design to Queen Victoria for approval.Canada-85-86

The new stamp featured a world map with Great Britain’s territories highlighted.  Mulock reportedly suggested issuing the stamp on November 9 “in honor of the prince [of Wales],” but Queen Victoria made her displeasure known immediately, replying “what prince?”  She and her oldest son had a notoriously rocky relationship since Prince Albert’s death in 1861.  The Queen is said to have blamed her son and the stress caused by his “playboy prince” reputation for his father’s death.

MORE from Mystic Stamp Company

Remembering the 2403 who died on December 7, 1945

Posted By on December 7, 2019


One of the most impactful photos for me on Pearl Harbor Day is one we took while watching the oil still rising to the surface from the USS Arizona while visiting the memorial. It was a solemn visit and moving time for us, decades after the surprise attack by Japan on December 7th 1945. As President Roosevelt declared, A date that will live in infamy.”

Photos from our Hawaii trip in 2006 and other parts of Hawaii225662227_397b3d6019_o

On that day, 2403 died and the thousands were call to arms, we remember their sacrifice in 2019 on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Here’s a bit of  the speech from President Roosevelt as we went to war with Japan.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt: Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our secretary of state a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese government also launched as attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Wake Island.

And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. . .



A Fluidampr Harmonic Balancer for the BMW X5 35d

Posted By on December 6, 2019

One of the engine components known to fail prematurely on BMW diesels is the weighty harmonic balancers on the 6 cylinder crank shafts. Perhaps the park is designed with fluidamprimagethe vibration rubber material that degrades or perhaps it is just the constant hammering of the diesel engine that is hard on the original design? In any case, by the time the engine closes in on 200K .. you’re likely running on borrowed time. Personally I suspect that those who run these engines a little harder or chip-tune them to gain horsepower and torque need to give even more attention to this component.

I’m not particularly hard on my BMW X5 35d, but do have over 180,000 miles and want to replace before I’m dead in the water. Also, I wanted to replace the original designed dampener with a Fluidampr design … so since my friend Andrew Rodriguez was running a Black Friday sale at, I ordered a new Fluidampr Harmonic Balancer from him. Now to find the time to replace it (a fair amount of weekend work).

Comment: I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering the future of internal combustion engines in cars (and in particular diesel engines) as electrically driven cars start to take a bigger chunk of new car sales. It is still small, but after bmw-x5-m50d-2018watching the Tesla Cybertruck presentation, even I can see the writing on the wall. Eventually the next generation will decide on an EV or some other “yet to be seen” technology. Thankfully I’ll still be driving ICE vehicles and doing my best to keep them going. Likely first to go will be diesel vehicles, but I suspect that even diesels will continue to be around for a long time – BMW Says Diesels Will Still Be Around For At Least 20 Years.

How long does a harmonic balancer last?

The crankshaft harmonic balancer is also known as the crank pulley damper. It is connected to the crankshaft on the engine and reduces vibrations that originate from your engine. In addition, it serves as a pulley for the drive belts. Without the crankshaft harmonic balancer, your vehicle would not run smoothly and it would have constant problems, including not starting. There are two elements of the crankshaft harmonic balancer. They include an energy and a mass dissipating element. Together, these work to balance out and get rid of the vibrations from the engine.

Each time the cylinders in the engine fire, torque is applied to the crankshaft. At certain speeds, the torque is in sync with the cylinders, which creates resonance. This resonance causes too much stress for the crankshaft. If this stress continues, the crankshaft will break and your vehicle will be inoperable. To balance the vibrations and resonance, the mass element resists the acceleration of the vibrations and the energy element absorbs them.


Archive: Once upon a time, I owned a Bobcat 743 #TBT

Posted By on December 5, 2019

While searching for a photo of an accident when a helicopter landed in our backyard, I ran across a photo of one of the “tools” I miss the most: a Bobcat 743 purchased RichCBobcat743_2007when we built our house back in 1995-96. I did the same thing with a more powerful tractor besides our John Deere 330 lawn mower when we moved from Aurora to Hudson, Ohio, but instead of a skid steer, it was an old Ford 800 series front end loader with a PTO-driven Woods finish mower on the rear.

We kept the Bobcat for a variety of projects, including snow removal and with forks as a poor man’s warehouse forklift when Brenda helped start the first online Internet Pharmacy fulfillment facility here in West Chester, Ohio (originally which eventually became Fun times … and also miss our Tootsie  (photos in her energetic Australian Cattle Dog Blue Heeler days).


Who knew cats and rats could be such good friends?

Posted By on December 4, 2019

This is when you know you need a mouse or RatZapper

Updates: Mudroom painting, steps treads and a coffee warmer

Posted By on December 3, 2019


The more time I spend in the basement workshop, the more I enjoy having my coffee with me and “warm.” Usually I just use an insulated stainless steel coffee container, MudroomSelfieNewPaint191129but lately I’ve gone back to a ceramic cup so it can easily go into the microwave for warming. When sidetracked by projects or working in the shop, I often forget my coffee for 20 or 30 minutes and it is only lukewarm or cold. So after bringing the parts back from a potpourri-warmer that broke, I fitting them into a ceramic flower pot bottom and it now perfectly keeps my cup-of-joe piping hot.

BUT, real updates and maintenance items still needed to be done. Before Thanksgiving, Brenda wanted the mudroom bench and garage entry stairs cleaned up and looking fresh. They were long overdue for a coat of while gloss ,so I sanded and repainted with “porch floor paint” which seems to hold up well on high traffic areas. The seat still are too easily scratched and scuffed as are the garage stairs so maybe a seat cushion is on the project list? As for those garage entry stairs, I replaced the vinyl treads with inexpensive bound-edge carpet treads … very nice … especially held in place with a couple nylon snap-clips which hold firm but snap off so both the carpet treads and painted steps can be cleaned. 

MudroomPaintPrep191129 GaragePaintTrends191201

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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